College Democrats scorn Bush address

Bush's upbeat State of the Union address Tuesday was met with skepticism by members of Marquette University College Democrats .

An event featuring Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane sponsored by the College Democrats, among others, prevented many members from watching the Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday, but Noelle Gilbreath and Patrick Whitty, the president and treasurer of the organization , respectively, were able to view it later that night. Overall, the two had a dim view of the speech and the plans Bush presented in it.

"I think for a president whose approval ratings are in the thirties, (the speech) is not going to get him very far," said Whitty, a junior in the College of Arts & Science , adding that he thinks there's "not a lot to be excited about in the coming year."

"I thought it was basically empty rhetoric," said Gilbreath, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences . "I don't think he addressed a lot of the concerns or problems the American people are having right now." She said student financial aid and a clear plan for an exit strategy from Iraq were issues she felt he glossed over.

Policies abroad — especially in the Middle East — were a dominant theme of the address, but they received a frosty reception from Whitty.

"If you look at President Bush's policies the result has only ever been more instability," he said. "His policies have made us suffer both abroad and at home." Whitty and Gilbreath were equally skeptical of the social programs Bush promoted Tuesday night.

"Those are all good ideas," Gilbreath said of Bush's proposals to fund HIV/AIDS education, bankroll clean energy initiatives and step up standards to boost math and science scores in the nation's schools. "We'll see if he actually follows through, though. A lot of the things he's positioned as environmentally conscious in the past haven't panned out."

"I think those issues get touched on, but he's consistently cut funding for social programs across the board," Whitty said. "Very little has been done in reality."

Bush's defense of his alleged condoning of domestic wiretapping without a warrant and push for the renewal of the controversial Patriot Act were met with a cold shoulder from congressional Democrats, and Gilbreath and Whitty followed suit.

"There are some provisions in that act that infringe on people's rights, so that's the reason for the cold reception from Democrats," Gilbreath said of the Patriot Act before saying there was "no reason you couldn't get a warrant before wire tapping" when it came to the wiretapping affair.